I take most of these pictures while riding my bicycle around San Francisco. I hope you will enjoy viewing them. August 27, 2007 and before: $15 Radio Shack digigr8, 300 kilopixel camera. November 13, 2007 and after: Canon SD1000

31 January 2006

Photography Non-vérité

A recent trip to a record store that involved browsing the vinyl record albums inspired the above composition. It is an attempt to reproduce the exaggerated hues and unnatural lighting effects that seem to be so common to album art of the 60's and 70's. At that time, the task involved a significant amount of mastery of analog photographic techniques. The above composition required a few adjustments to the saturation, hue, brightness, and contrast sliders on my rudimentary photo editing program. So, while it is a visual approximation of the art of the era, it by no means required the amount of skill employed to create the era-defining works that emerged during those and subsequent generations.

Here is the original image, before performing any adjustments.


My horse

My bike! A Marin Novato. Pictured here with one of the two Jandd "Grocery Bag Panniers" that I use to carry loads. I have another one that attaches to the other side of the rack for more extensive hauling, or large shopping trips. The panniers are perfectly sized to carry a grocery bag inside. This bike has been in my possession for about a year. It is lighter and more durable than the bicycle that I replaced with it. I can still remember the first few months I rode this bike. It was so much easier to ride than my previous bicycle, I described the sensation as "Thinking of a place I wanted to go, and effortlessly arriving there." The bottom bracket and hub bearings are sealed, which makes them optimal for these rainy days. Instead of having to clean and regrease them seasonally, the bearings are simply replaced when worn. After a year of daily riding, rain or shine, I have found this to provide a significant decrease in the need for routine maintenance. Less maintenance means more "Thinking of places to go, and effortlessly arriving there."

Celebrations of the cycle abound. This mural depicts Marshall "Major" Taylor.

The following post was added on 3 February, 2006.

I wrote to John J. Schuller, the founder of the Major Taylor Society and informed him of this mural. He wrote back and expressed his interest in the image. He encourages people to check out his site. I concur. Please do check out his collection of information dedicated to this courageous athlete.

Another view of the mural:

The mural in context with the rest of the decorated wall space outside of the cooperatively owned bicycle shop.


30 January 2006

Waving hello

Plants. Popping out. Waving "Hello. Check me out."

Sure. Gladly.


27 January 2006

Sunrise and cherry blossoms

Between this morning's sunrise, and the cherry blossoms now emerging on my home street, my work as a writer is done. Please enjoy your weekend. More pics next week!



While commuting on the street, it's fairly important that different forms of transport stay within their own layer of flow. Of course, different elements do occasionally collide, with varying results. I often find myself expressing gratitude for another ride safely completed. The above photo was taken while traveling in a designated bicycle lane. The traffic on the left was moving, while parked cars were off to the right. Another bicyclist takes advantage of this relatively calm zone within which to ride.

In the photo to the left, my bright yellow riding jacket is reflecting off the glass of the pedestrian shelter next to the streetcar which was stopped at the same traffic light as I was. Streetcar tracks are a significant hazard for bikes, especially when wet. Crossing at a shallow angle can lead to one's tires getting caught, toppling the rider. Keeping an eye out for such features on the road helps decrease your chances of an accident. All in all, just another day on the bike.


Life at night

The $15 camera has a very narrow range of light conditions in which it will function. Unlike most cameras which will take a photograph regardless of external conditions, this one merely beeps twice, signaling its refusal to capture an image. In the photo at right, I had to fake it out in order to snap this beautiful shot in which you can see the cables and tower of the Bay Bridge which connects San Francisco and Oakland, California. I believe the overhead street lamp at the top of the frame provided enough light to trick the camera into taking a photo, even though the ambient light at that time of day was too low to take any additional photos.


26 January 2006

Brighten the corners - a poetic post

The hearts in the windows made me smile. The colors in this picture are unmodified. I like the way the camera saw this scene, just how it is.

Street cleaners, noisy and cumbersome. Thank you for removing the glass from the road. Maybe one less flat tire today.

All around, people do their parts to enliven the

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Electric buses! Inhale. Exhale. People come and go.


Wide open spaces

As a bicyclist, sharing space on the streets with other travelers is a delicate dance. The scene changes rapidly throughout the day. The photo below documents a moment this morning when I could ride leisurely down the middle of the street.

This is in stark contrast to the reverse commute. T
he following pictures were taken last night on my way home.

I attempted to capture the string of brake lights that snaked several block down the street. The four way stop sign ahead was creating a bottleneck for larger vehicles. As a bicyclist, I can weave through the cars. Paying attention to opening doors is crucial to avoid injury.

Traveling outside of the "door zone" is not always possible on narrow streets without bike lanes. Sometimes a moderate pace, a good set of flashing lights, bright clothing, and heightened alertness will have to suffice.


25 January 2006


Today I started playing around with different digital enhancements to bring out the colors in these photos. Compared to most digital cameras I've seen, the $15 camera is not very sophisticated. Without enhancement, some of the photos look very dull. This photo was taken during sunset last night. The sun rises and sets every day. I hope you get a chance to watch it. Good evening.



From the bicycle seat, I enjoy a different view of the roads from the car and truck drivers. It's always gratifying to see other members of the human-powered transportation tribe. I watched these children on scooters make their way across the street just before the light changed. I suppose that the members of the human powered vehicle club have differing levels of enjoyment of their membership.

This older gentleman made his way up a faily steep hill before crossing in front of me while I waited at a red light. Who is happier, he or I? I dare not say.

Whatever the mode, bicycle, walk, or scoot, group solidarity on the streets helps with visibility and safety.

Here is a pack that I rode with for about three blocks before the other riders went their separate ways. *Following comment added 26 January, 2006* Daily commuters may find comfort in the routine of familiar streets. I rode home from work behind the rider in the blue jacket. I recognized his outfit, yet I believe I remained as anonymous to him as anyone on the bustling streets.


Paying attention to the lights

Today is the third day that I've carried the camera around with my on my bicycling travels. It has made a noticeable impact on how I pay attention to my surroundings. To sum it up, I suppose I'd say that it has to do with paying attention to light. I think this photo demonstrates a rich combination of colors and light effects. The view is facing North, with the 08:50 southerly Winter sun illuminating the buildings nicely. I like the way the painted letters on the corner building are casting a shadow on the yellow wall inside the building. There are a few pedestrians out on their morning errands, dressed appropriately for the 50 degree (F) morning air. I tend to notice other bicycles, like the one chained to the route sign on the corner. And another aspect of light that becomes extremely important as a bicyclist is the traffic light. I took this photo just before the light changed, and I continued my ride heading East.


24 January 2006

Perhaps you can just imagine the dogs in the front seat

The camera has two resolution settings. "HI" and "LO." On "LO" you can take about 100 pictures before the memory fills up. That is the setting I was using yesterday before realizing that there is a drastic loss of resolution. So much that you can't actually see the two dogs standing in the drivers seat of this vehicle. They were both wearing day-glow fluorescent t-shirts. One was orange, the other green. From now on I will probably use the "HI" resolution setting.


Yesterday and Today

I just got a $15 digital camera from Radio Shack. It's only 300 kilo-pixels. I ride my bike almost every day. I see sights that I find interesting every day. I will try to remember to carry around my $15 camera to capture some of those interesting sights. I hope you will enjoy viewing my pictures.

The p
hoto above was taken on 23 January, 2006 around 08:50. The angle of the composition was unintentional. I was riding up a fairly steep hill, and must have been leaning back on my bicycle.

Here is a photo I took today:

I think it conveys a nice sense of movement.

That's a self portrait taken in a mirror, while holding the digital camera up to my right eye, and my hand up over the left eye. "Hi" from my eye. (Or, "bye.")